For those who enjoy watching football at its purest form, the Britannia Stadium may not be the place to go on Saturday. The last few fixtures between the two sides have not been for the football faint-hearted, with two stalemates and a 1-1 draw the end product of the last three meetings between the pair.
Aston Villa, however, may well take another stalemate if it will give them a precious away point that may prove vital in helping them avoid relegation. Villa currently lie in 18th position on goal difference but will hope to continue the form that has seen them win three out of their last six matches. Lambert’s side will again be dependent on Christian Benteke, the Belgian striker who has scored 18 goals this year and has been linked with a £15 million move to Spurs this week.
Without Benteke, however, Villa have only managed 14 goals. That means Tony Pulis will undoubtedly see stifling the Belgian striker as the key to victory. That may be harder said than done for a team whose traditional fortress of the Britannia has crumbled in recent times, with the Potters only recording one win out of their last seven Premier League matches that leaves Stoke only four points above the relegation zone. Another draw may not be what both clubs want going into Saturday, but it could end up being exactly what they need in their battles to avoid relegation.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 3pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS
Aston Villa 0 Stoke 0, Premier League, December 2012
Aston Villa 1 (Weimann) Stoke 1 (Huth), Premier League, April 2012
Stoke 0 Aston Villa 0, Premier League, December 2011
There have only been 4 goals scored in the last 4 matches between the teams, all of which ended in draws.
Stoke have failed to score in 14 Premier League matches this season, more than any other team.
Aston Villa are on a run of 15 Premier League games without a clean sheet; one away from Everton’s 16 game run without a clean sheet this season.
Stoke have only picked up 5 points in 2013, less than any other team in the Premier League.
Stoke have only won one of their last six matches at the Britannia Stadium.
Stoke to win: 2.10
Aston Villa to win: 3.70
Stoke claimed their first Premier League win over Aston Villa back in 2008 with Mamady Sidibe’s dramatic injury-time winner that gave them a 3-2 victory. Under coach Martin O’Neill, Villa had battled back twice after going down to strikes from Liam Lawrence and Ricardo Fuller before Sidibe’s late strike consigned them to defeat.
TV: Highlights on BBC1 at 10.30pm